A Crime on the Bayou

Recipient of a 2020 JFI Completion Grant

A Crime on the Bayou is the story of Gary Duncan, a Black teenager from Plaquemines Parish, a swampy strip of land south of New Orleans. In 1966, Duncan tries to break up an argument between white and Black teenagers outside a newly integrated school. He gently lays his hand on a white boy’s arm. The boy recoils like a snake. That night, police burst into Duncan’s trailer and arrest him for assault on a minor. A young Jewish attorney, Richard Sobol, leaves his prestigious D.C. firm to volunteer in New Orleans. With his help, Duncan bravely stands up to the District Attorney, challenging his unfair arrest. Their fight goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and their lifelong friendship is forged.

Director, producer and curator Nancy Buirski is the founder and was the director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival for ten years. She produced five collections of Full Frame shorts with Docurama and a library collection of feature-length documentaries, The Katrina Experience. She was executive producer of TED's Pangea Day Film Content. Buirski is a producer of Time Piece, the innovative cross-cultural anthology of Turkish and American shorts (directors, Albert Maysles, Alex Gibney, Nathanial Khan, Edet Belzberg and Sam Pollard, among others), Harlem Woodstock (director, Alex Gibney) and Althea (director, Rex Miller). She is next directing the documentary Tanaquil Le Clercq: Afternoon of a Faun and is producing a fiction version of the Lovings' story. Prior to her work in film, she was a documentary photographer, writing and photographing "Earth Angels: Migrant Children in America," and the foreign picture editor at The New York Times.

Release Year
Completion Grant Year
Running Time
89 minutes